President Donald Trump, using his unerring ability to find an issue to get people mad at him for his benefit, has doubled down on his lambasting of professional sports athletes who kneel during the National Anthem. He has now called for a boycott of the NFL until the demonstrating players are brought to heel. Just as he intended, many of the players and even some owners are offering defiance. They will now show disrespect during the National Anthem not because they think that the United States mistreats African Americans, but because they are mad at Trump and, by extension, people; who voted for him.

Protesting millionaires call into the billionaire president’s trap

Curiously, football and now basketball and baseball players have made themselves the moral equivalent of the Westboro Baptist Church. Just like the Westboro Baptists, the players are taking an occasion meant to be unifying and nonpolitical and are injecting politics into it. The difference is that the people from Westboro are yelling and screaming about gay people at military funerals. The entitlement-addled pro athletes are doing the equivalent of pointing the middle finger at the country during the singing of the National Anthem. Both have the constitutional right to do what they are doing. Both, however, are abusing their privilege to their detriment.

What happens now?

Now Americans have another reason to be mad at one another. Supporters of the athletes have taken to social media to play the race card, noting that most of the protestors are African Americans. They are suggesting that African Americans are being singled out for the color of their skin and not their behavior.

In the meantime, attendance for professional sports games will continue to decline, and TV ratings will continue to drop. Americans are going to vote with their wallets and their remote controls.

Professional sports has been a machine for printing money for well over a century. Between ticket sales, media rights, and marketing endorsements, even pro teams in smaller media markets are profitable, year after year.

This bounty may be coming to an end if the pro athletes are allowed to keep up with their political posturing.

Pro sports team owners are going to have to be convinced that if they allow this kind of behavior, their bottom lines will be affected. They will have to start suspending and even firing players who are ruining professional sports by turning off their fans. People who get paid millions of dollars to throw a ball around have a responsibility first and foremost to the people who pay for their sports cars and their mansion. Otherwise many may have to find another way to make a living.